In 2020, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed into law HB 500 – the so-called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” – making Idaho the first state to pass a law banning transgender athletes from participating in sports. The law would bar women and girls who are transgender, and many who are intersex, from taking part in school sports consistent with their gender identity. It would also institute a “dispute” process, which would require female athletes to verify their biological sex through an invasive physical exam by a medical provider.
The Plaintiffs, Lindsay Hecox and Jane Doe, are both student athletes who would be directly impacted by the law. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Lindsay, a transgender woman, wanted to join her school’s cross-country team. HB 500 would have prohibited her from doing so – robbing her of the same opportunities afforded to her peers. Jane, a cisgender girl who enjoys sports, joined the lawsuit out of concern for her privacy, fearing others might use the “dispute” process to bully or harass her. On August 17, 2020 the district court issued an order granting Plaintiffs’ request for a Preliminary Injunction, thereby halting the law from being enforced. The decision was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. NCLR and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed an Amicus Brief in support of Lindsay and Jane Doe, urging the Ninth Circuit to uphold the District Court’s ruling. Oral arguments were heard on November 22, 2022.